m xtape Whitehorse
Paper Lions are your fr iends
A.A. Wallace Acres and Acres Alan Jeffries Alana Yorke Alert The Medic Andrea England Ashelin Banded Stilts Ben Caplan Bill Stevenson Billie Dre & The Poor Boys Black Moor Breagh Mackinnon Cam Smith Carleton Stone Charlie A’Court Cassie and Maggie MacDonald Chrissy Crowley Crowdis Bridge Cyndi Cain Dance Movie Dark for Dark Erin Costelo Floodland Gabrielle Papillon Gianna Lauren Glory Glory Gloryhound Gypsophilia Ian Sherwood In-Flight Safety Jenn Grant Jennah Barry Jessie Brown John Campbelljohn & Dwayne Cote Kim Harris Kim Wempe Kirsten Olivia Kuato Kyle Mischiek Like A Motorcycle Magnolia Mark Cameron Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac Matthew Hornell Mo Kenney Molly Thomason Muzik Over Matter NaDaSiMusik Nicole Ariana Orchid’s Curse Paper Beat Scissors Quiet Parade Ragged Mane Rain Over St. Ambrose Rhapsody Quintet Ria Mae Ricochet Ruth Minnikin Ryan Cook Scientists of Sound SoHo Ghetto Sprag Session Steven MacDougall Take Part Taryn Kawaja The Brass Taxxx The Brown The Caravan The Modern Grass The Rockabillys The Stanfields The Tom Fun Orchestra The Town Heroes The Will Be Gones This Sound Will Save You Thom Swift Three Sheet Willie Stratton and the Boarding Party Young River Zac Crouse
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
AVAILABLE AT NSMW.CA OR BY CALLING 1-800-311-9090
TICKETS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE AT ANY TICKETPRO OUTLET INCLUDING CHARLOTTE ST. PHARMASAVE IN SYDNEY
The right colors / Les couleurs permisent
ROCKING HORSE ROAD PRODUCTIONS EST.2012
RHR places music in television, film, games and online media. Offering quick and easy clearances for over 70 Canadian artists in a wide variety of genres, RHR delivers amazing talent and excellent service. Contact us - whatever your music needs! firstname.lastname@example.org
www.rockinghorseroad.ca Halifax Pop Explosion Showcase! Thursday October 24th 7pm-11pm Bus Stop Theatre
Featuring: Repartee - Heather Green The True Love Rules - Express and Company
Pitching. Placements. East Coast Pride.
Catch the infectious Ottawa FEVERS
Indigo Joseph is showing off for Saskatchewan
Out of This World Halifax’s Moon is rising fast
Track by Track
Marine Dreams’ Ian Kehoe takes us through Corner of the Eye
EONS’ New Old World
Matt Cully of Bruce Peninsula spins his own brand of folk
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
What we learned about the bands of Polaris
Coming of Age
Paper Lions journey through their youth on My Friends
.. . . . .
Caribouâ€™s Brad Weber shows off his project Pick a Piper
Multi-talented Andrew Scott of Sloan shares his visual art
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Mic Check Letter from the editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jonathan . . . . . . . .Briggins, . . . . . . .Editor-in-Chief . . . . . . . . .................................. .
This is the first issue of Mixtape Magazine, an insider’s guide to the Canadian music scene. We made a prototype of the magazine when we were attending the University of King’s College in Halifax in 2012. We released a summer festival guide this summer as a teaser for this, our first full-length issue. It’s been a long time in the works and we’re super excited to finally show off our hard work. Firsts are a mixed bag of emotions. The excitement of something new intertwined with nerves; wondering exactly how everything will unfold. In this issue we spend lots of time with the Polaris Prize, even though you’ll probably know the winner by the time Mixtape lands in your hands. While who wins is important ($30,000 really helps a band, of course) more important is the dialogue it creates. It puts bands with an international following, such as Metric, on the same page as aboriginal electronic group A Tribe Called Red. It’s the benchmark
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
each year: whether an album could be a Polaris contender. If I were picking the winner from this year’s shortlist, I’d go with Ultramarine from Young Galaxy. On this album, the Montreal band sounds confident pushing the boundaries of their own music and embracing an electronic-rock-pop hybrid. Mixtape gave a group of music lovers some unforgettable experiences in putting this issue together. Getting completely drenched at outdoor music festivals, eating the ultimate late night food, hanging out with bands in their favourite places and where they grew up gave us special insight into the lives of musicians. We now take these experiences and knowledge and turn them over to you. We let artists do the talking, too. Who else can explain a song better than the one who wrote it? I invite you, the reader, to let us know what you think our first issue. Are there features you really enjoyed reading? What pages did you skip because they looked boring? What bands do you want to know better? Let us know at mixtapehalifax@gmail. com or reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter. We have more for you at www.mixtapemagazine.ca: daily content that complements the print edition, including curated playlists, spotlights on new bands and concert reviews just to name a few. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed making it.
Editor-in-Chief JONATHAN BRIGGINS Managing Editor EVELYN HORNBECK Contributing Editors NICOLE FERIANCEK SAMANTHA CHOWN Copy Editor ADRIA YOUNG Contributors JANE CAUFIELD MICHAEL MCGRATH JEN OCHEJ ADRIA YOUNG Online Editor JANE CAUFIELD Creative Director HILARY CREAMER Photographer/Photo Editor SCOTT BLACKBURN Layout Contributor NINA CHERRY Illustrators MATTHEW BUSTIN EMMA COCHRANE Publisher/Business Manager BILL MCEWEN Mixtape Events Team SAMANTHA CHOWN MICHAEL MCGRATH STEPHANIE MUISE Advertising TENILLE GOODSPEED Advertising Department MIXTAPEHALIFAX@GMAIL.COM To subscribe visit store.mixtapemagazine.ca MIXTAPEMAGAZINE.CA Mixtape Magazine was originally created by Jonathan Briggins, Samantha Chown, Hilary Creamer, Ryan Hemsworth and Chelcie Soroka
mixtapemagazine.ca All the good stuff we couldnâ€™t fit in the magazine
watch Original and intimate videos that bring the music to your computer screen, sharing those magical musical moments with you.
. . . . . . . . . . . . ......................................
Daily features highlighting the latest and greatest in the Canadian music scene, exclusive one-on-one interviews and thought provoking editorials.
. . . . . . . . . . ........................................
With playlists, pre-release live streams and so much more, Mixtape Magazine wants the music to speak for itself.
. . . . . . . . . . ........................................
connect Hey! Letâ€™s be friends. Find and follow us on Facebook,Twitter and YouTube.
. . . . . . . . . . ........................................
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
Album Reviews The Gertrudes - Neighbourhood (Apple Crisp Records) The Gertudes are still a band you can count on for a fun time. This album, the fourth from the Kingston band, has all the charm you need in a folk-country album, with the richness of a jazz ensemble, and the rocky tendencies of a modern band. Charles Spearin of Broken Social Scene may have said it best when he called them his “favourite folkestra.” The band captures the cultural zeitgeist with songs that respond to the financial meltdown and aftermath. “All Give Thanks to the Bank of America” gives a sarcastic eyeroll to Wall Street, singing about the financial treadmill: “Paper our cages, harvest
our wages” and “in zeros and ones/ everyone’s funds/ evaporate.” That song, and “All the Dollar Bills Sing Hallelujah” will have you dancing and snickering at their tongue-in cheek lyrics (and honestly, who can resist a furious banjo lick like that found on “Rhubarb Pie”?). It’s not all romping high-tempo; this album knows how to slow it down, translating its big band sound expertly to slow songs like “Water on Your Body” which features a quiet, mournful horn line. This band have proven their mettle, and their skills come through on this release. - Evelyn Hornbeck
. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
Don Brownrigg - It Takes All Kinds (to make this world, I find) (MapleMusic Recordings) Newfoundland’s Don Brownrigg is a complex individual, and his latest album, It Takes All Kinds, will take you through that depth of emotion and experience. Listening is like voluntarily setting your emotional regulator to “chaos” in the most delicious way. Recorded over the course of two years by producer Daniel Ledwell the album features guest appearances from Jenn Grant, Kinley Dowling (Hey Rosetta!), Rose Cousins, and Ledwell himself. Standout tracks include the first single, “Sweet Dream Sleeper,” and “No Smoke, No Gun,” two dark yet upbeat tracks that will have you bobbing your head and tapping your feet, as well
as the vintage-feeling “The Swing Song,” with Grant’s unmistakable backing vocals trailing lazily after Brownrigg’s. However, emotional tracks like “Just Breathe” and “Fight For Your Castle” are where Brownrigg truly shines; the depth and nuance of his voice are perfectly showcased on these slower songs. This album is a testament to just that; whether people, experiences, emotions, styles, or anything in between, Brownrigg has taken his time to seek them out and bring them to bear on this album, recognizing their unique value and contribution to the whole. - Jen Ochej
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
A SIDE Acousma - Acousma (Independent) Acousma’s self-titled debut EP clocks in at just over ten minutes long, but for fans of punk music it’s not a release that’s to be overlooked. The first track starts with a brief moment of feedback, and then from there it’s full on gritty hardcore punk as the singer belts out “Wake up to an alarm clock, fucking with submissive flock. Pump, pump, pump, production.” This first track and those first lines set up the entire EP as every track has borderline cryptic, barbaric screams about a disdain for the world in some sense. On the track “Humanity In Words” the singer cries out the words “The wheels turn as I watch books burn. Fuck this knowledge
machine.” These lyrics weigh a lot on their own, but when yelled in combination with the dark and heavy guitar riffs they create a feeling of hopelessness for the world that is perfect for this type of music. The EP leaves very few moments for the listener to be able to catch their breath as the tracks bleed into each other in the most beautiful way, shooting off short songs like bullets. Acousma is dark, Acousma is heavy, and simply put Acousma is one of the most exciting punk bands to come out of Canada in many years. - Michael McGrath
. . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan - Uzu (Paper Bag Records) A 2012 Polaris shortlist nomination and record deal for Yamantaka // Sonic Titan has put the spotlight on the sophomore release from the experimental band. Uzu sees the continual exploration of duality by Alaska B and Ruby Kato Attwood and their self-coined “Noh-wave” sound (a reference to the no-wave post-punk scene in New York City in the late 1970s and Noh, a Japanese form of musical drama). Yamantaka // Sonic Titan’s’ Asian heritage is celebrated alongside the indigenous heritage of the extended members of the band on the song “One,” a track starting with a traditional Iroquois song performed by members of the Mohawk tribe. The album swells near the brink of chaos during “Hall of Mirrors” only to be 8
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
followed by “Seasickness Pt. 1” where the sounds of waves, classical piano and Attwood asking “where do I go when I sleep?” transports the mind to a different place. Heavy electric guitar, an instrumental song built around drumming, synths, classical instrumentation and modern innovation all come together on this album. Despite bringing so many different elements into a ten song album, the journey of Uzu feels natural and not jarring. While listening to Uzu will never be as encompassing as one of the band’s elaborate live performances, the album gives a good taste of why this band is one of the most innovative in the Canadian music scene. - Jonathan Briggins
Miesha & The Spanks - Girls, Like Wolves (Saved By Vinyl) Calgary/Toronto’s Miesha & The Spanks released Girls, Like Wolves late August and I’ve been howling at the moon ever since. Produced by Ian Blurton (C’mon, Cowboy Junkies), with drummer Stu Bota, Miesha Louie’s seventh release illuminates her hard-rock, garage-power qualities just as the summer solstice brightens the black night. This front-woman has the chops for rock and roll: smoky bar rooms, draught beer, and Van Halen jackets. The sound is entirely classic and yet completely fresh. Louie’s growl reaches both peaks and valleys. The album opens with “Please Don’t Blow,” a driving song if there ever was one: sunburned left-arm hanging
from the 1976 Chevrolet. The album powers through until “This Time,” with its dance-hall twist and shout, and then “Song 10,” a continuation of “Revolution Number 9” with reverberations through generations. “Want You to Know” has lucid Jack White moments, which is awesome, but the stand-out track is “Civilized,” no doubt. Girls, Like Wolves is a fully conceptualized, aurally consistent experience deserving of non-stop radio play that shows the strengths of both artists and the stride between the last record and this one. - Adria Young
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
Said The Whale - hawaiii (Hidden Pony) Anyone familiar with Vancouver favourites Said The Whale’s signature summery, hook-heavy sound will be unsurprised that their latest offering, hawaiii, is a perfect album to play at full volume with the car windows rolled down, but this record is far from predictable. With twelve tracks clocking in at just over thirty minutes, hawaiii is an exceedingly enjoyable listen that you won’t hesitate to start over again right away. Though the opening track, “More Than This”, kicks things off on a more somber, piano-driven note, the up-tempo and harmony-laden “Mother” will have you tapping your feet in short order. Incorporating subtle elements of electronica, often-frenetic percussion, and rich harmonies over a beautiful base
of piano and guitar, it’s hard to find a moment on this record that disappoints. From the buzzy first single, “I Love You,” to the driving build of “Helpless Son” and the alt-country tinged “The Weight of The Season,” hawaiii is a gem. Pick a sunny day—or a gloomy one you want to brighten up— crank the volume, and let Said The Whale take you for a drive. - Jen Ochej
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
A SIDE Kayo Guevarra - S.L.A.V.E. (Black Box) A raw and passionate composition, S.L.A.V.E. is an album laced with conflict, duality and the struggles of a young hip hop performer on the comeup. Referring to himself and fellow collaborators Quake, Cam Smith and Chris Noxx (to name but a few) as “young kings” in the making, Kayo displays deep ambition as a producer, emcee and singer. The St. Lucia native weaves guitar riffs, horns, piano and even distorted vocals with insightful, revealing lyrics. In “Rich Already,” Kayo openly covets the success of his mentor Classified. By the end of the track, his jealousy, through its expression, is flipped on its head and its power becomes instead a resolve
to appreciate what he has and to work even harder. Kayo’s ability to see things in two ways is something that runs through much of the album’s aesthetic as well. The album is billed (and priced) as an EP, but runs the length of an LP. Even the name S.L.A.V.E., which stands for “Serenity Lives Around Virtuous Energy” was turned into a positive acronym. Although the overall tone risks earning the label of melodramatic, Kayo deftly balances the exhaustive realities of his universe with a hopefulness that still allows the listener to breathe between his emphatic, emotional verses. - Bill McEwen
Many Marvelous Magazines Groovy greeting cards, lots of licorice & so much more.
@magsstore atlanticnews.ns.ca 429-5468 At Queen & Morris
#mixtape Here at Mixtape, bodily functions are our speciality. As evidenced below, we’re not alone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Collected by Nicole Feriancek
Cab driver just burped feel like I should burp back
Just heard one senior call another an “old poop”.
You know it’s love the first time you let one rip in front of the one you adore...
Don’t waste any time. Drink coffee on the toilet.
Pick one: a) spill no beans b) spill a couple beans c) spill some beans, eat other beans d) chili
My doctor recommended I introduce more Omega 3 into my diet I feel kind of super-fish-oil doing it through RS
@Drake I never tweet what I’m doing cause it’d just be like “yooo who else is up eating granola and watching aubrey plaza interview snippets
@billie_dre Got bacon on everything, wished drive thru guy a happy birthday, got a free large fries. Thanks Yarmouth for ruling so hard!!!
@joelplaskett Money shouldn’t grow on trees cause we’d probably eat it.
@lights This non scented moisturizer makes me smell like a piece of bacon. I don’t understand.
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Best Online Albums The top 5 albums you’ll never get your hands on Jonathan Briggins & Jen Ochej . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Words . . . . . . by ................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. We’re a fan of music in the physical form.Vinyl, cassettes, CDs, you name it. Sometimes there is music you could get your hands on, but it’s pretty difficult. The best online albums in this issue are a mix of limited releases and digital only releases. There is also an
underlying theme here: women play a crucial role on each album, either by leading the band or being entirely comprised of women. All these albums can be streamed online. Google, download and zone out.
AquaAlta EP 1 (June 2013)
Rebel Girl Rock Camp - Compilation (August 2013)
Roberta Bondar Hiss (March 2013)
Old & Weird Judy Cool (July 2013)
The Courtneys The Courtneys (June 2013)
If you thought you’d have to wait until 2014 for a follow-up to Jenn Grant’s The Beautiful Wild, think again (sort of). Never the type to stay still for too long, Grant joined forces with Graeme Campbell and Charles Austin (The Superfriendz) to form undersea dream pop supergroup AquaAlta. The sound is experimental and synth-filled, Austin and Campbell’s multi-layered instrumentation provides the perfect atmosphere for Grant’s ethereal vocals. AquaAlta’s first EP is available to stream online with more tracks to follow. (Standout track: “Epic Sweep” )
This summer, The Halifax Rebel Girl Rock Camp made me want to be sixteen again. Over the course of a week, youth from grades six to eleven who identify as female, trans and gender non-conforming spent long days at The Khyber Centre for the Arts in downtown Halifax, forming bands, writing songs, and perhaps most importantly, discovering that girls have a place in the music scene, too. The online-only EPs from the four bands are proof of all that they learned, and a testament to the young talent that exists in Halifax. (Standout track: “Misty Big Eyes” - Psych)
The follow-up to Roberta Bondar’s self-titled 2012 EP, is a buzzy, frenetic romp through six quick tracks that’ll leave you wanting more. The crisp drums on “Night Danger” and the crackly, atmospheric sounds on the EP’s opener, “Haus,” caught my attention at first blush but the more I listened, the more I found new and unexpected layers in each song. The slower, weightier “Pleather Bed” is no-less attention grabbing than any of the more ostentatious tracks and the entire album from the Ottawa band will have you dancing. (Standout track: “Night Danger”)
The Halifax band released a five-song cassette tape with a three-song EP available for online purchase this summer. From the opening bass line in the title track, through “I Do Think You’re Great” and “Tell It To Yourself,” this alt-grungy post-punk EP will have you tuning in more closely so as not to miss any of its subtleties. This is the kind of music I’d put on first thing in the morning or on those days when nothing else seems to fit and I’m feeling a bit, well, weird. (Standout track: “Judy Cool”)
The Courtneys’ fun sun-bleached indie pop songs sound like they floated up the west coast from California and landed in the hands of the Vancouver trio. The self-titled album draws on tracks from previous cassettes as well as a handful of new songs. For an added internet bonus, find the band’s “Cookin’ with the Courtneys” Ustream channel. (Standout track: “90210”)
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
Trendspotting From kitsch to cool: the return of the flexi disc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Words . . ................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. and photo by Nicole Feriancek A formerly extinct music medium is back from the dead and Canadian artists and labels are jumping on the trend. Meet the flexi disc: a colourful, pliable piece of vinyl, seven inches square. It’s as thin as a sheet of paper, pressed with a spiral groove just like a record and can play three to four minutes of music. “They’re such an oddity,” says Halifax musician AA Wallace, who just released his single “This Can Heal” on flexi disc this spring. “I wanted to make something unique, something real, something you can’t download.” Flexi discs have been turning around tables for more than half a century. If you were around in the ‘70s, you’ll remember the impossibly thin, black freebies found in magazines and cereal boxes. Beyond quirky marketing, flexis have hit a few musical milestones. The Beatles used flexi discs to release annual Christmas recordings. Soviet Russians made illegal flexi jazz recordings with pre-used x-ray material (aptly-named ‘ribs’) and National
Geographic released the (still) largest distributed recording ever – 11 millions copies of whale songs – via flexi. Then came the ‘90s. CDs were king, the era of digital music was just beginning and flexi discs, like vinyl, were on the way out. The fat lady sang in 2000, when American manufacturer Eva-Tone, the largest, and last, producer of the flexible medium shut its doors and dismantled all production equipment. For ten years, no production facility in the world could produce those cheeky vinyl treats. Then, in 2010, a San Francisco production company called Pirates Press decided to resurrect the flexi with a top secret production method, a new look and new indie cred. Now they’re turning up on merch tables everywhere. At a dollar or two a pop, more than 400,000 have been distributed, most notably by Decibel, an extreme metal magazine that started giving away one flexi disc with each issue in 2010, and by Jack White’s Third Man Records, which famously released 1000
flexi discs tied to blue helium balloons in Nashville, Tennessee in April 2012. AA Wallace said their popularity is growing because the modern flexi discs are better quality, better sounding and longer-lasting. “You can feel the difference. New flexi discs are almost twice as thick as the old black ones, which were so thin you actually needed to put a coin on the flexi to keep it flat on the record player. “The deeper the groove, the more dynamic range can be produced and the better the audio quality.” While Wallace admitted that while he won’t be retiring on the profits of his flexi disc (he’ll be happy to break even), he will release another flexi in the future. Dawn Loucks, who runs record company Saved by Vinyl in Calgary, also says flexi discs are not a huge money-making venture because there really isn’t a market for a four dollar item that only holds one song. Instead, she sees their value as collectible, promotional items. Loucks has handed flexi discs out at festivals, and said the reactions have been
priceless. “People have no idea what they are and are blown away that this nutty little piece of vinyl can actually play music.” “I think it’s human nature for people to want things that are real, that are tangible, that we can touch. Plus there’s the whole hipster factor in it.” She has ordered thousands of flexis, for more than 15 different artists and bands, some of whom are including a special “flexi only” song with their full album on vinyl or CD. “I love that you can release a piece of music on flexi, without an internet promo code, that literally can not be heard anywhere else. “It brings us back to the days when you had to wait with anticipation for that album to come out, to go to the record store and actually get your hands on the music.”
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Seasonal Mix We’ve been there, we can help. Our playlists for your life. . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Illustrations . ................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. by Emma Cochrane
Songs for the changing seasons
Songs to wake up to
Songs to get you excited for HPX
Songs for a cold night with a warm cup of tea
1. Hey Rosetta! - Yer Fall
1. Patrick Watson - Morning Sheets
1. Action Bronson – Strictly 4 My Jeeps
1. Gabrielle Papillon - Go Into the Night
2. Octoberman - Run From Safety
2. Braids – In Kind
2. Jenn Grant - Parachutes
3. Groenland – Immune
3. Matt Epp - Too Cool
4. Hannah Georgas – Waiting Game
4. Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans - Raised All Wrong
2. Cold Specks - Winter Solstice 3. Stars - Winter Bones 4. Attack in Black Young Leaves 5. Kathleen Edwards Buffalo 6. Sarah Harmer & Jason Euringer - Shine on Harvest Moon 7. Matt Mays - Full July Moon 8. Slow Down Molasses Hazy Summer Days 9. Young Galaxy New Summer 10. Paper Lions - Bodies In The Winter
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
3. Mother Mother - Sleep Awake 4. Bass Lions - Like Ashes In My Mouth 5. Cuff the Duke - Like The Morning
5. Japandroids – Adrenaline Nightshift 6. KASHKA – Keep It Up, Youngster!
5. Kathleen Edwards Going To Hell 6. Hannah Georgas - Ode To Mom
6. Mohawk Lodge - Why Wouldn’t You?
7. Lunice – Who Dat
7. Zachary Lucky - Town To Town
8. Renny Wilson – Come Tomorrow
8. Half Moon Run - 21 Gun Salute
9. Repartee – Your Heart
8. Tegan & Sara - Terrible Storm
10. Wavves – I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl
9. Amelia Curran The Great Escape
9. Zeus - Let It Go, Don’t Let It Go 10. Dark Mean - Algonquin
7. Matt Epp ft. Serena Ryder - When You Know
10. Sarah Slean - You’re Not Alone
Profile of a Record Label The weird world of Ottawa’s Bruised Tongue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Words by Michael McGrath
“We just want to release good music,” said Craig Proulx, one of the two people running Bruised Tongue in Ottawa, Ontario. Finding a label that brings consistency to every release is an increasingly hard thing to do, but Bruised Tongue has found the formula. Run by Pierre Richardson and Proulx, the label puts out some of Canada’s finest off-thebeaten-path, weird and experimental music. With over 50 releases under the Bruised Tongue name, Pierre and Craig are experienced in curating a diverse selection of sounds for their label. Including everything from loud, dissident noise music such as the Ottawa band Total Crush,
to hooky garage punk such as Halifax heroes Cold Warps, the label shows that it’s not afraid of showcasing a wide range of bands that are currently pushing boundaries in Canada. This label is one to keep your eyes on - there’s a little something for just about everyone. Proulx and Richardson have their fingers on the pulse of everything weird in Canada and are currently some of the best tastemakers in the country. Proulx and Richardson started the label almost five years ago, purely as a way to release music their friends were creating. They deal almost exclusively in the release of cassettes.
“Releasing cassettes means we have control over pretty much every aspect of production and runs can be as limited or as large as we see fit,” says Proulx. This control is clear when you get your hands on a Bruised Tongue release. They recently put out their third compilation, Afterburner Vol. 3. The release came in the form of a small zine booklet with the tape secured in a pocket on the front page. As you flip through the small zine, each page has a picture of the bands featured on the compilation. This unique, do-it-yourself aesthetic is a small part of what makes Bruised Tongue the special label it is. Bruised Tongue focus-
es largely on Ottawa music. Although it’s not exclusive, that is obviously where the heart is. Proulx said his favourite thing about the Ottawa scene is “the crop of new artists that are genuinely interested in improving this city and supporting whatever’s going on…[they] have been making Ottawa a great place to be.” “People will always look towards Montreal or Toronto for the next big thing,” he says, “but the reality is most artists making waves in major metropolitans have likely moved there from smaller cities like Ottawa or Halifax.”
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
In the Zone Where Dartmouth’s Cam Smith eats, sleeps and makes the magic happen Words by Samantha Chown . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Photo by Scott Blackburn
Hailing from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, hip hop artist and producer Cam Smith still calls this place home. His small but mighty studio, located in the heart of downtown Dartmouth, does double duty. It functions as both his working space and as a one-bedroom apartment his shares with roommate Tyler Ross. “I sleep in here, eat in here,
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
everything you can imagine gets done in here,” he says. And for the last four years, this one tiny room is where Smith has done it all. He’s written his last three albums here. He’s made his successes here. Everything he’s ever done creatively has happened here and Smith says leaving this little space would be breaking a ritual. It’s also a hub of creative energy where friends are always
filtering through working on whatever’s new. You might find someone scoring a film one day and the next, someone editing a project for TV, says Smith. For instance, Jason Eisner, the screenwriter behind Hobo with a Shotgun, also uses the studio space. It’s a place where, “everyone is kinda doing their thing,” he says. No matter how tight it can get sometimes, Smith says it
works for him. And when they need to get out of the cramped space, there’s a half-pipe in the backyard. Grant Keddy (pictured), is also a Dartmouth-based producer and close friend of Smith’s. Smith says Keddy has shared all of his successes and is involved in all his projects big and small even if that means Keddy just adds snare to a track.
FEVERS Pitch Rising Ottawa stars are poised to break out by Jonathan Briggins . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Words .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Photo by Scott Blackburn
Opening for Tegan and Sara isn’t common for a band that has yet to release a full length album. But that’s exactly what happened for FEVERS at Ottawa Bluesfest in July. The five-piece band from Ottawa draw on the dance grooves of electronic music, the innovation of indie rock and the catchiness of pop music. They’re a band that make music sound fun and worth seeing live. After releasing the EP Passion Is Dead in 2011, the band took a new approach to the recording process for their debut album No Room For Light, which came out this year. For the first recording, everything was done by the band. Jim Hopkins in particular played a huge role, logging countless hours in the studio producing the record. The release was warmly received with lots of love from
the blogosphere and over 1,000 downloads. To hone their sound and also give Jim a break, FEVERS brought in outside help for this record, somebody who wasn’t attached to the songs and could push the band to be better. “There’s that other perspective you don’t get when you’ve been writing and doing the demos,” says Hopkins. Producer Laurence Currie, whose resume includes work with Sloan, Hey Rosetta!, Wintersleep and In-Flight Safety, just to name a few, came on board. “We all went through his catalogue. All of us had this moment of ‘He did that? I fucking love that.’,” says guitarist and vocalist Colin MacDougall. That first EP was mostly songs written by Hopkins and MacDougall from before the band had officially formed.
No Room For Light saw the band come together in a more collaborative fashion to create songs. “We went and threw (all the songs) in a vat. Jim and (drummer) Mart would be off working on ‘bleeps bloops’ in the back. Sarah and I would be working on lyrics in the front,” says MacDougall. While the w EP was full of ready-for-the-dance-floor electro pop songs, the new album explores what you can do with electronic pop songs on a deeper level. Opening track “Autumn’s Dead” sways back and forth from quiet vocals, strings and piano to a big sound with synths and crashing cymbals. “Monuments” still has the “bleep bloops,” but they don’t compete with Bradley’s vocals. While Currie’s production helped improve the band’s sound, they also gained valuable
tips from an industry professional who has been embedded in the scene for decades. “As much as we learned about production, we learned a lot about the music industry. He mentioned Toronto or Montreal are good places to be, because not only do you play shows, but that’s where a lot of musicians and people in the industry reside,” says vocalist and keyboardist Sarah Bradley. Location can be tricky for bands as it can be tempting to move to big music cities. But being between Montreal and Toronto has given FEVERS a chance to feed off both markets. “How cool would it be to buck the trend and actually do something based out of Ottawa?” says MacDougall.
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Prairie Proud Getting to know Indigo Joseph . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Words by Jane Caufield Saskatchewan: known across the country as the province marked by seas of wheat, ribbons of pink potash and miles of boring, flat prairie. And when it comes to music, it’s almost as if people forget the province exists. Often, Saskatchewan bands like Wide Mouth Mason are assumed to be from another province. But lately, things are shifting. People are beginning to notice the music coming out of Canada’s flatlands. It’s something Eric Tessier, from the band Indigo Joseph, said is really exciting to be a part of. “There’s something about where we’re from that, instead of being limiting, is spurring our growth,” says Tessier. When Indigo Joseph formed in 2011, with the mission to break down cultural and artistic barriers, it hit the local scene in Regina, Saskatchewan with passionate vigour, playing shows across the province and going on small-scale western tours through neighbouring provinces. And, perhaps it’s the band’s energetic live performances or earnest approach to the self-described “prairie rock”
sound, Indigo Joseph gathered quite a following in the prairies. Now, having won the CBC’s 2013 Song of the Summer competition in August for the single “Others,” the band is starting to garner the attentions of music lovers outside of their home province. In fact, 2013 has been a pretty darn good year for the foursome, who were invited to play major national festivals, such as NXNE in Toronto. “Every time a really great opportunity comes our way, I think to myself, ‘this is fantastic.’ But somewhere in the back of my head I think that we just got lucky this time, but they keep coming. So maybe I should rephrase that from luck to fortunate,” Tessier says with a laugh. Tessier attributes their growing popularity with music fans across the country to catchy blues-rock sound infused with “four-on-the-floor dance rhythms,” and the band’s enthusiastic performances. “We represent our music very authentically. And it has to do with the people that are creating the music. This is the
first group where I can really say that artistically we are really on the same level.” As the band grows in popularity, Tessier says it is important for the them to continue honing skills – always drawing from and adapting a variety of musical influences. Tessier speaks specifically about writing and performing songs in French as well as English, pulling from the Fransaskois heritage of the band’s two primary songwriters. “We really like to have as many different tools in our toolbox as possible as artists,” says Tessier. “So if people are engaged and interested to listen to something in French then we would love to be able to play for them.” For the band, going forward from here includes heading into the studio to record a new album and working on their recording skills. “We’re realizing now that we do have an audience on a national scale and now we just have to continue to put out music,” says Tessier. No matter where success
will lead them, Indigo Joseph doesn’t plan on shedding its prairie-ness. In fact, according to Tessier, this is a really good time to be a band from Saskatchewan. “If you think about the resources that are available in a smaller metropolitan centre like Regina or Saskatoon or even Moose Jaw, there’s more space; there’s more opportunities to play shows; there’s more funding available throughout funding agencies like SaskMusic,” he says. Tessier believes the unrelenting support the band has received from their hometown province is part of the province’s personality, drawing a similarity between the response Indigo Joseph gets during performances and the insatiable love Saskatchewanians have for the CFL’s Roughriders. You can catch Indigo Joseph on tour across Eastern Canada during the month of October or download the hit single, “Others” as well as two previously recorded EPs through the band’s website, indigojoseph.com.
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Out of This World With a Hali-famous roster, keep your eyes on Moon Words by Adria Young . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Photos by Scott Blackburn
“Periods, yeah, that’s the core of our band. The cycles. The ever-present connection between the menstrual and lunar cycles,” explains Andrew Neville. “Oh, Andrew, go on!” exclaims Stephanie Johns, looking to Jamie Forsythe, giggling. “I’ve actually talked with Noel about this before,” Neville says. “Leave me out of this,” replies Noel MacDonald, cross-armed. Graeme Stewart laughs. Over the last year, Moon has been orbiting the Halifax scene, releasing a four-track EP of ultra-cool krautrock in March that received mad props across Canada. This emerging five-piece is one of the easiest-going bands around, likely the result of years of combined experience. “I’ve learned how important it is to be respectful and accommodating and as encouraging as possible,” says Neville. This approach is
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
reflected in the band’s genesis, as well as the recording practice and sound. “At first, it was me, Noel, and Andrew. I had been bugging Andrew to let me drum,” says Stephanie Johns. Last fall, Neville had been plotting a post-punk project in the style of Victoria’s Freak Heat Waves, “I wanted to be cool like them,” he says. “Once we saw them at Halifax Pop Explosion, we were like, okay let’s do this band,” says MacDonald, “They were an inspiration even though we sound nothing like them.” From there, the trio hit Echo Chamber Audio to begin recording the EP, at which point Stewart and Forsythe were asked to tag along. “We didn’t even rehearse beforehand,” says Forsythe. Johns adds, “The songs are so long and open, not like really tight two-minute pop songs. We wanted room for improvisation, we wanted them to sound weirder and lush.”
Stewart agrees: “We took a lot of liberties in the studio.” And these liberties transfer to the live performance. On keyboard and guitar, Stewart layers disjointed sounds on top of MacDonald’s bass lines while Forsythe’s flute floats ethereally; Neville’s laconic vocalisations are complemented by steady and heavy drums by Johns. The effect is a droning and hypnotic reverberation of cosmic energies. As the band continued to jam (which Stewart describes as super fun, “It’s like a beer league baseball team,” he says), Moon started playing more gigs more frequently: a late-night spot during the OBEY Convention, house shows, and an invitation to Sled Island music festival. Flying to Calgary in June, Moon arrived to a flooded city and a cancelled festival: a huge disappointment, a financial bust, but a positive experience overall, they say. “We’re obviously influenced
by a lot of Calgary bands, like Women,” says MacDonald. “And we ended up playing a wicked house show for a lot of people we really like, with the help of Paul Lawton (Ketamines) who picked Steph and Noel up at the airport,” Neville says. “We played with Monomyth and Old & Weird, so it was a long way to go for a local show,” MacDonald laughs, “But it was a really good thing to do. I had Swiss Chalet at the airport.” Gearing up to play the Halifax Pop Explosion, Moon wants to get back in the studio soon. The band’s laid-back attitude and style is propelled by a collective creative ambition. “I don’t have to do very much,” says Forsythe. “None of us do,” interrupts Neville. “I think that’s the point,” adds Johns, “We’re the sum of our parts.” Keep an eye on the sky.
Star Qualities Stephanie Johns, Drums/ Vocals Former member of: The Stolen Minks, Die Brücke, Dance Movie, Hanson Brothers Cover Band, Destiny’s Child cover band (The Automobills) “She has a really sweet power. Everything’s just really driving and very deliberate and steady” - Graeme
Jamie Forsythe, Flute Former member of: Music Inspired by the Film (with Matt Reid) “When we first heard the flute on the tracks, we were crapping our pants at how sweet it sounded, it just totally fit. It elevated everything” - Stephanie
Andrew Neville, Guitar/ Vocals Former/current member of: Take on Me, Meat Tree, Neville & The Nickersons (Weezer/Black Flag cover band), Quivers, Virgil’s Girls, Broken Social Scene cover band “One thing Andrew needs credit for with this band is his mixing. So much of the musical vision of Moon has come from him but the mixing has blown my mind. I envy people who can just fully explore the potential of the song in chord form” - Noel
Noel MacDonald, Bass/ Guitar/Vocals Former/ current member of: TomCat Combat, Quaker Parents, Long Weekends “Noel is the funkiest and smoothest bass player. He’s also an amazing guitar player, like way good. He can just lay down anything immediately. It’s a pretty cool skill” - Graeme “He never plays an off note” - Andrew “I’m a sick shredder” - Noel
Graeme Stewart, Keyboard/Guitar Former/current member of: The Lauras, Monomyth “Graeme’s really into prog rock and into really big sounds. I’d say he’s better at music than any of us” Andrew “I definitely like reigned-in bombast. I like going crazy and I like funny and dramatic chord changes” - Graeme
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Track by Track Ian Kehoe of Marine Dreams waxes introspective about Corner of the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Words . . . . . . by . . .Ian . . . .Kehoe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ........... Swimming through memory is a luxury that I rarely afford myself. This is my first long and joyous look back at everything in me and everything surrounding me when I was making this album. Of course, memory can be a bit of a trickster but I have faith that any illusions are faithful to my state of being. Faithful to my own music. Faithful to my wonderful friends. FACES One of the last arrangements completed during the very brief recording process, and one of my favorites. I thought the song had always pleaded with me not to have drums in it
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
whatsoever. To compensate for this projected exclusion, the two bass lines and two guitar parts counter each other in a very bouncy, but very rigid, rhythm. For some crazy reason, I asked Danny (Romano, leader of Daniel Romano and the Trilliums) to fade the click track (which was a drum machine) midway through the first chorus. The result, we all agreed, was impactful and blissfully simplistic. The song, for me, could then march through the air as I must have imagined love itself doing enough to write, almost exactly, in the chorus. I say ‘must.’ I just can’t exactly remember.
STRAIGHT PATH The title of this song always strikes me as one that a positive hardcore band (likely Catholic) might use. I can’t say why, but I love this fact. Especially because of the obvious musical and lyrical juxtaposition. This is the one song whose lyrics literally put me in the jungles of Henri Rousseau’s paintings, a very important influence for me on this album. To my simple eyes, the paintings are highly skilled renditions of very pure visions. I can see Rousseau’s foliage all around me when I sing this one. The foliage is the warning of difficulty, the difficulty itself and salvation from difficulty all at once. Only in the songs ending refrain (different key) does it thin out from around me. Then, I’m in a clearing. DAMP EYES Ross Miller is an exceptional person. As Rousseau’s paintings are to this album, Miller is to my entire output as a songwriter. He was the first person to hear my evolving songs, many of which became my first album. It is very hard for me not to write about the acutely refined and exceptionally beautiful bass playing at the center of every song. Their brilliance achieves the most rare and often unimaginable perfection. There is virtuosity, yet it is always married to such wise and effective restraint. Art, as I have read the street musician Moondog to have said, is so often the art of concealing art. In this way, Ross Miller is an artist.
EPILOGUE I wrote this song quickly one afternoon at home, inspired by Tamara Lindeman (The Weather Station, Bruce Peninsula) and Isla Craig mixing down beautiful four-track recordings in the basement below me. CORNER OF THE EYE For the first time in my life, I started to experience instant realizations (or materializations) of melody, which, if I was able to remember or quickly record, became entire songs. This is exactly how this song came into my life, on a beach in Wilmington. Of course, the melody is fairly simple. But, it was irrepressible in my mind and one that I knew I would love to sing for a long time. In the studio, Danny recorded a tiny snippet of his brother, Ian Romano, playing the drums and from that constructed a loop. This loop is constant throughout the entire song. Just one of many studio tricks I look back proudly on. ROOTS COME AFTER LENGTHY WAITS A simply expressed understanding combined with poetic indulgence – sometimes the necessary combination. What else can you do when the title of the song is its essence entirely? Danny’s genius both as musician and arranger are evident in this song’s bridge. Very possibly the most beautiful electric guitar playing on the record - which further emphasizes and conveys a very emotional moment in the song.
HOW COULD I BE SO MISUNDERSTOOD? The only song on the record that doesn’t have acoustic guitar. Ian Romano played most of the drums on this record and it is impossible not to talk about his proficiency and perfect taste. Playing to our drum machine click track, he was so precise that the click and his real playing were indecipherable. Remarkable. Important to note is that his precision was immediate. No settling in. Instantly in the pocket. Unshakable composure. Seasoned wrists. Ian Romano. I WON’T BE ABANDONED Tamara Lindeman. Her voice is on nearly every song. Her incredible virtuosity, emotional power and rare purity as a singer deserve volumes upon volumes of dedications. In this song, as well as sing, she played the flute. I never heard her play the flute before and I haven’t heard her play it since. She played what you hear on the record instantly. The phrasing is incredible to me. It is the most sensual and the most vulnerable sound on the record. All too fitting that it occurs in this song. And, for me, so comforting to know that she played it. MORNING I am infatuated by this most beautiful time of day. Serenity. The residue of dream. Time of ritual and of reliable newness. My mind is malleable. My body swims through the strange medium
that is the waking world. I guess this is what I was trying to write in this song. It is morning now as I am writing about my writing and I feel just as this song is. There never seems to be choruses in morning. Only subtle lifts which then equally subtly decline. GUARDING MY LOVE I became aware, partly through the opinions of my friends, that the central and most important meaning of this record is in this song. The lightness of tone and happiness of rhythm disguise (or diminish) the urgency of the lyrics. Ironically, I have never actually guarded my love from anything! I don’t intend to start. SCARED OF BURNING UP These are my favorite lyrics of all. They feel pretty solidly on the road that leads to poetry (which I really hope to write one day). The word ‘evolution’ is my favorite single word on the record. Properly (though completely unintentionally) bookending the record, as Faces was the last song completed, this was the first song to be recorded. I sang and played it once and we built the arrangement around my vocal. It would set the tone for the rest of the process. Its final place is at the end of the finished record, feeling now as it did then when we began – like a bridge. Corner of the Eye by Marine Dreams is available through You’ve Changed
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
EONS’s New Old World Matt Cully interprets the roots of folk with a modern voice by Evelyn Hornbeck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Words ................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Photo by Scott Blackburn “Where do all those old songs go?” This haunting line from “Arctic Radio” opens the psychic space that EONS’s debut album inhabits. A song about old radio signals drifting, “stuck between the dials,” in the no man’s land of the Arctic. The song uses the fanciful concept to examine themes of passing time and object impermanence. A tall order that flows from the artistry of the man behind the band, Matt Cully. The album, also called Arctic Radio, is an impressive release from this new alt-folk project, delving into light topics such as death and aging. With beautiful full-band arrangements, EONS takes the listener on a journey that pushes the limits of folk. Cully is known for his work with Toronto-area indie stars Bruce Peninsula. Nominated for the Polaris Prize in 2009, Bruce Peninsula is a band of fluctuating numbers (but hovers around seven) that blends genres from prog-rock to gospel, all with a folk sensibility. Starting a couple of years ago, Cully, who writes for Bruce Peninsula, began collecting his songs that didn’t fit with the band’s “bombastic” style. “I was writing kind of more mellow, introspective songs that were more focused on personal lyrics,” he says. In March 2012 he pulled the material, along with some covers, into the first
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
show. That became EONS. It came at the perfect time. Bruce Peninsula has dialed down. Everyone is working on other projects. This is something that Cully says came about organically from the group. “For the four years of Bruce Peninsula I never thought it was weird that we were seven or eight people because I’d never been in a band before, and they were all my friends,” says Cully, who did a lot of the organising. Wrangling all those people into practices and tours is difficult. Now a bit older, with families and kids, the group has become even more ungainly (but fans needn’t worry too much; Cully assures us that they’re already working on new material). EONS’s pared-down style has allowed Cully to explore the folk history for which he has a passion. In 2005, he started his journey, exploring music “older than rock and roll.” “All these things that led to more popular traditions of music,” he says. “There’s countless names but the portal for me was Alan Lomax.” Lomax was an ethnomusicologist from the early 20th century who spent his life collecting music and folklore in the southern United States and around the world. “Through his collections of things from different regions in America I would discover all
these voices from the past that really inspired me.” Those voices echo through Arctic Radio. The delicate guitar riffs and soaring vocals could be sounding from another time: from his interpretation of the traditional “I’m Dying Mother” and through the spooky duet “Brothers and Sisters,” written as a letter from siblings to their father about their incestuous relationship (Cully’s Bruce Peninsula compatriot Misha Bower is the other voice of EONS). “These artists are talking to each other but also bringing their own life experiences to the songs,” Cully says of the folk tradition. “It’s an ideal of community and music.” The final song on the record demonstrates this melding of life experience and place. “We Are The Young” was recorded in Cully’s hallway with his father, giving it that quality of an old recording. The song is led by the senior Cully, a lifetime chorister and member of the Toronto Police Association Male Chorus. Matt joins in, his voice a younger version of the lead: “I’m growing old, or so I’m told, I still feel young inside.” The effect is haunting. “The song works because it’s my dad and I singing,” says Cully. “We don’t play it live because the meaning of it is in the form.” The live show, however, has
a lot to offer. Cully has played live on VIA trains, in clothing stores and house shows, and once in a university library, between the stacks. “We’ve been able to play a lot of interesting spaces because it’s just the two of us,” says Cully. “Spaces inspire the music.” He says he enjoys attending shows outside the normal bar scene. “I feel like the most exciting and inspiring shows have been when you put music somewhere it’s not supposed to be. The audience knows it’s special, the performer knows it’s special and you’re able to create a whole other vibe. “(Our music) is a lot to ask of the audience but I feel if you give them the right space they can’t help but pay attention,” he says. He acknowledges that his brand of folk isn’t for everyone. “I feel like people don’t like difficult music and folk can be difficult,” says Cully. “It’s not sexy, and I feel like people want culture to be seductive... It tries to speak about real experience.” Next for EONS: continuing to challenge audiences, and himself. Building on the experience of recording “Arctic Radio” in his home, he wants to turn inward and take some more risks. “I’d like to lean more on that. Get fucked up and do fucked up things.”
Polaris Mixlist What we learned about the 2013 Polaris Prize artists Photos by Scott Blackburn
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Illustrations by Matt Bustin Words by Mixtape Editorial Team
The Polaris is the king of Canadian music prizes, and the long and short lists are the royal court. Making the lists boosts sales and profile, and cements your spot in the Canadian canon. But there’s always something to learn from the curation of the list.
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
This year, Polaris took us on a ride through our old favourites and new surprises, directing our listening and exposing new stories. Mixtape has rounded up the best of what we’ve learned from this year’s list, and made a cheat sheet for you.
Tegan vs Sara The twins’ music together is Canadian canon, but with very private personal lives, how well do any of us know Tegan or Sara Quin? Vancouver
Tegan has a tattoo of a tree on her lower right arm.
Sara has a large tattoo of a wave and a ship on her upper left arm.
No visible piercings
Once convinced her Calgarian grandparents to vote NDP.
Campaigns against the conservative government.
Tegan songs: rocky, edgy
Sara songs: pop-y, smooth
“Dark Come Soon” - The Con
“Walking with a Ghost” - So Jealous
Quotable: “We talk about unicorns a lot because I found out while we were recording a record that I did not understand that unicorns never existed. I just thought they were extinct”. - St. Louis, 2008
Quotable: “What does it say about society that men are so comfortable drawing their own genetalia all over everything? Women do not feel comfortable to do that, I would never ... Who has a Sharpie? I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna ... I’m gonna christen these walls with a VAGINA.” It’s Not Fun, Don’t Do It (2007)
A casual music listener may look at the Polaris shortlist and only recognize an artist or two. Often the list will have bands on it that even your above-average Canadian music fan (i.e. somebody who goes to shows, occasionally reads music websites, whose friends would consider indie because they listen to non-top 40 bands) has never heard of. This year, the name Zaki Ibrahim is a surprise. Canadian-born, but living in South Africa, Ibrahim’s R&B meets electronica meets soul meets jazz is anything but expected. Here are three artists that came out of nowhere for a music prize that is already somewhat obscure. Shortlist 2012 - YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN - YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN Self-described as an “Asian, Indigenous and Diasporic Art Collective”, the then-unsigned Montreal band have signed with Paper Bag Records since last year’s nomination. 2011 - The Weeknd - House of Balloons - At the time, Abel Tesfaye a.k.a The Weeknd was surrounded in mystery, rarely doing interviews or showing his face. This album is also the only shortlisted album that has also been a free download. 2010 - Karkwa - Les Chemins De Verre - Despite being a bilingual country, the Polaris list tends to be dominated by English music. The francophone band ended up beating out previous winners Caribou and Owen Pallett (he won under the name Final Fantasy) for the 2010 prize.
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Colin Stetsonâ€™s extensive resume
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
1970s Glam rock vs. 2010s Noise Rock This year, one of the shortlisted albums is Toronto noise rockers METZ. But before METZ, there was Metz, a glam rock band from Houston, Texas who were kicking around in the ‘70s. Not much evidence exists of them on the internet. There are a pair of songs on YouTube and a few mentions on blogs. Their self-titled album contains songs
with grammatical nightmare titles including “Your What Ah Need” and “On An On An On.” The dance-friendly songs can drag on for over six minutes, repeating the same lyric over and over. We don’t know much about this band, but they were real apparently.
Should have won Mac DeMarco would have been the perfect Polaris Prize winner in 2013. His album 2, on the Polaris long list this year, is a breath of fresh air for a list that is often full of predictable Canadian bands. Breezy guitar licks transform into earworms as DeMarco sings about everyday mundane happenings because those things matter, not because he lacks creativity. Smoking (he really likes it, just look at his Twitter), cooking and girls are all covered. The album has resonated with the critics and landed the coveted “Best of New Music” designation from Pitchfork. The Polaris “recognizes and markets albums of the highest artistic integrity, without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history.” It’s easy to be skeptical of this declaration with two of the most internationally acclaimed Canadian artists winning the past two years, Arcade Fire and Feist. Let’s hope the Polaris doesn’t turn into a popularity contest. Brad Elterman
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Story from the road
Back before the days of Whitehorse, Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucette toured Canada with Blue Rodeo in 2008. Touring with a big band can teach you a lot and on the last stop McClelland learned her lesson about… well, here’s the story. “Luke opened for those guys across Canada five years ago, and I was playing in the band so I was just kind of along for the ride. But along the way Greg (Keelor of Blue Rodeo) invited me to sing a song with him and that turned into a couple songs and I was singing a verse of “Lost Together”... and by the second half of the
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
tour, Luke’s portion was done and Cuff the Duke were the openers, Blue Rodeo invited me to come and hang out and sing with them, which was obviously awesome. So I toured with them, we came to the east coast and we did Newfoundland and the very last show was in Halifax. So we had this really, really long tour. And the night before we were in St. John’s and it was my first time in St. John’s so of course I did not sleep. I went out to George Street with a bunch of people and we stayed up all night. I was like, ‘Well, tomorrow’s the last night of the tour, it’s ok if I’m feeling
rough.’ We get up early, early, early the next morning, fly to Halifax. Cuff the Duke were supposed to be on the next flight but of course in St John’s style, everything shuts downbecause of some weather problem. So they’re stuck in St John’s (there are worse places to be stuck in), and all of a sudden Blue Radio is stuck without an opener for their last show, in Halifax. I’m going on zero sleep but I’m like… “me, me, me!” and they’re like, ‘OK well if you can put a band together, then do it.’ All of a sudden I’m on the phone… I pretty much
collected musicians from the street. Like, making phone calls, people I had never met before... and we all met at the Metro Centre, and this was maybe an hour before the show started. So we’re all sitting there, I’m playing my songs really fast just to show them the arrangements. I’ve never played in a place this size before. Anyways, 40 minutes later they had barely heard most of the songs and we all got on the stage together and played an hour-long set.”
Polaris à Quebec The long list functions as required listening for Canadian music from coast to coast -- Quebec included. The language barrier may seem formidable, but given a chance, at least two of these three can easily translate. The third… well… they are an experience that’s all their own. Les soeurs Boulay, Le poids des confettis - When these two played the long list announcement I’m sure there were many hipsters in English Canada who quickly turned to bandcamp to hear more (guilty). Their jazzy folk sound translates easily (even if you don’t speak french). Listen to: “Par le chignon du cou” Jean-Louis Cormier, Le Treizième étage - A little rock, a little folk, Cormier is a veteran of the Quebec music scene with his band Karkwa. The band, currently on hiatus, formed in 1998 and have won multiple Felix awards (Quebec music award) and the Polaris in 2010. This album is his first solo album, cementing his reputation as a top-notch Canadian act. Listen to: “Le coeur en teflon” Alaclair Ensemble, Les maigres blancs d’Amérique du Nord - This crew from lower Canada (aka southern Quebec) can only be understood if you speak joual (that’s a particular breed of French, from Montreal). A bit rap a bit hip hop, they call their music “postgridon” (you tell me). They reference in-jokes and Quebec cultural history with aplomb. Listen to: “Babouine”
Looking ahead to 2014 The dust has barely settled on this year’s Polaris, but Mixtape is looking ahead to our predictions for the Polaris short list of 2014. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that Polaris has some favourites. Bands like Caribou and Metric get renominated again and again. To be fair, the Canadian music industry is lucky enough to have a wealth of great bands, and the Polaris is about merit. Those bands usually deserve it. In the next Polaris year Arcade Fire (Reflektor), Shad (Flying Colours), BRAIDS (Flourish//Perish) and Austra (Olympia) will be eligible for the prize. Another return nominee, we predict, will
be Imaginary Cities (Fall of Romance). The band made the long list in 2011, but next year could be the year for the short list. We also see success for the debut from DIANA (Perpetual Surrender). A great album, with members from The Hidden Cameras, Destroyer and Bonjay, this group (supergroup?) has awards season written all over it. Finally, we can’t help but include Paper Lions (My Friends).You can read more about them in our cover story, but with hype like making the CBC Music Song of the Summer top 10, Paper Lions’s latest release could spell success.
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Purity Rings Because being in one band isn’t enough, Purity Ring’s Megan James has been busy this year covering and collaborating with a variety of other artists. “Belispeak II” – Purity Ring ft. Danny Brown Purity Ring’s collab with Detroit rapper Danny Brown came about after Brown reached out to the band via Twitter. The band’s producer Corin Roddick reworked Purity Ring’s track “Belispeak” to mesh with Brown. “Breathe This Air” – Jon Hopkins ft. Purity Ring Purity Ring and Jon Hopkins have had a reciprocal relationship. A newer version of Hopkins’s “Breathe This Air” James Hopkins ft. Purity Ring was created featuring vocals from
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
James for Hopkins new album Immunity. Hopkins also remixed Purity Ring’s “Amenamy” off the duo’s album Shrines. “First Time” – Dre Skull ft. Megan James and Popcaan After releasing his album Loudspeaker Riddim last summer, Dre Skull updated the track “First Time” with vocals from James for a collaboration with German shoe company Puma. “Grammy” – Purity Ring (Soulja Boy cover) Purity Ring’s beatmaker Roddick has been declaring his affection for Soulja Boy’s album The DeAndre Way since 2011, so it only makes sense the band would cover one of his songs and make it their own.
Music as cultural education Music is a tool of selfexpression for aboriginal DJ group, A Tribe Called Red. But recently their fans took things too far. Showing up to their concerts in “redface” wasn’t exactly how the group wanted their fans to express themselves. Calling their fans “unintentionally racist,” DJ Bear Witness said concertgoers thought they were honouring the group by wearing their culture as a costume. The group, DJ Bear Witness, DJ Shub and DJ NDN, started making music together only
a few short years ago. Their initial mission was to start a dance party for their aboriginal community. This lead to a constantly sold-out once-a-month show in their hometown of Ottawa called Electric Powwow. Then in 2010 when Diplo tweeted about their music and instantly validated their coolness. It wasn’t long before the masses caught on to A Tribe’s seamless ability to blend EDM with traditional First Nations drumming and vocal chanting.
Just last year, their debut self-titled album was longlisted for the Polaris Prize. And this year has seen their sophomore effort, Nation II Nation, shortlisted, instantly making it one of the 10 best Canadian albums of the year. Finding the “super exciting” news out while on tour this summer, DJ Bear Witness said the group was, “still blown away”. All of this means more awareness and attention, not just for their music but also for all aboriginal artists, says Bear. The DJ crew is an active
supporter of the Idle No More movement, dedicated to honouring indigenous sovereignty. Fans may also notice that most photos of ATCR show the three DJs always laughing. Bear says that’s their way of challenging people’s stereotypes of aboriginal culture and overturning assumptions of the group. Instead of taking the crew to a dark alley for promotional shots, Bear says they see themselves better represented hanging around a BBQ together and laughing.
“The point is that they care about the music. That’s ultimately what we care about too, that’s what we all have in common. It’s not a prize for albums sold, it’s not the Grammys. It’s people excited about the music we make and we’re excited about that too.” - Emily Haines on Metric’s Polaris nomination.
WHAT CHU KNOW ‘ BOUT
CHRI ST MAS?
gi f ts ubs c r i pt i ons av ai l abl eonl i ne
s t or e . mi x t ape magaz i ne . c a
Coming of Age Paper Lions shines with a little help from My Friends Words by Nicole Feriancek . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Photo by Scott Blackburn
Four grown men sprint towards the doors of an old white church. They burst in like kids chasing an ice cream truck, passing the altar and empty pews, heading straight to the bell tower. One by one, they climb up three stories of ancient wooden beams, until they squeeze past the giant church bell and hoist themselves up into the cool air, on the tiny platform at the top of the tower. From up here, you can see almost all of Belfast, P.E.I. hundreds of crosses in the historic graveyard, acres of rolling fields, patches of woods, and a tiny road that snakes around the town where three quarters of the indie pop band Paper Lions grew up. “My dad is the pastor here, so we spent a lot of time running around and playing in the woods,” says John MacPhee, the lead of Paper Lions. Beside him is his brother, Rob MacPhee, who plays bass, and their childhood best friend/ neighbour, Colin Buchanan, who plays guitar. Their drummer, David Cyrus MacDonald grew up 20 minutes away, and first met the guys in high school. Ever since, they’ve been making pop-rock songs with infectious choruses, sweet harmonies, lots of warmth and an engaging live performance that makes concert goers feel like friends.
“I’ve only actually been to the top three times,” says John. “The last time I was here I was 19, and on a first date with my girlfriend who is now my wife.” The rare visit to the top of the tower is reflected in “Bodies in the Winter,” the first track on their nostalgia drenched album My Friends released in August. In the dark and the dust and what else, look around on our knees / The ladder’s raised And we jump to the top where we hold by the skin of our teeth / Out of the haze Then at the top chatter stops and we take it in / Towering giants from here Looking out onto the foggy vista, they see beyond the beauty of the rural landscape and the way the horizon melts into fog; they see the kingdom of their childhood, where they built forts, made friends, made mistakes and grew into the people they are. This feeling of nostalgia is the heart of the album – the fundamental childhood experience that shapes character and personality. “When we were writing this record we wanted the lyrics to have a cohesive theme,” says Buchanan. “It came from sitting around, reminiscing about old stories. These lyrics started to spill out and these stories started writing themselves.” The album is like a snapshot
of the past, which tells “stories of love and pain, childish fights, best friends, beaches and forests, that evoke the melancholia of youth.” Listening to it almost feels like calling an old friend who you haven’t talked to for years. The album is bittersweet. It contrasts sunny melodies and lyrics that paint an idyllic picture of growing up in P.E.I., with the cold reminder that growing up means leaving the ways of childhood behind. The accessibility of the content was important for the band, says Buchanan. “The stories may be our own personal thing, but building memories and nostalgia from childhood friendships is a universal thing.” As they soak in the views from the tower, the guys are excitedly telling jokes and old stories - some are from the new album and some aren’t. They talk about the unheated rink that looks like a tin can cut in half and stuck in the ground where they played hockey, about building and destroying sand castles and about writing funny movies, which they tried to record but always ruined because they laughed too hard. “In most of the videos, I’m the only one in it, and I’m stuffing my clothes with pillows,” says Buchanan. “I usually played three people – a skinny person, then a fat person, then
an even fatter person.” Across the road from the church is a small park called Polly Hill, also the name of one of the most beautiful and heartache-inducing songs off their 2012 EP, At Long Creek. “We kind of identify this whole area where we grew up as Polly Hill,” says John, pointing to landmarks featured on the albums. “So we decided to personify Polly Hill as a woman. And in the song, we explain that the reasons why we love her, are also, sadly the same reasons why we have to leave her.” “I often feel she’s a motherly character,” says Buchanan. “It’s like you want to do them proud, but at the same time, sometime you have to leave, you have to fly the coop.” Further in the distance, the guys point to an unassuming patch of woods where they built tunnels and forts, which are also referenced on the album. “This wasn’t an ordinary thing,” says Rob, who breaks in, even though he rarely speaks during interviews (instead he favours the social media realm). “We’re talking nails and wood and serious planning. The tunnel must be about 100 feet.” “It’s still there,” says John. Their intertwined past makes their music something special. “I can’t remember not knowing them,” says Buchanan about Rob and John. “We’ve
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
been friends since almost birth.” “Growing up we sang in the choir together. We didn’t have band class in Belfast, but we started picking up instruments at about 13 and 14, and kind of taught each other how to play guitars and drums,” he says. “At some point we kind of realized, ‘Oh, this is sort of unusual’,” says John. “We’re childhood friends who still like each other, play music together and don’t want to kill each other. It’s like that realization has created a new power or a new resolve to stay together, to make it work.” After meeting MacDonald as competitors at a Battle of the Bands (they still dispute who won), the band officially formed in 2004, under the name Chucky Danger Band. “We played our very first concert on Canada Day in Charlottetown that year,” says MacDonald. “The crowd was empty, but we had a good time anyway.” Since then, Paper Lions has released four EPs and three full length albums, been nominated for 10 East Coast Music Awards and won Pop Recording of the Year in 2006 for the EP, 6-pack. Among their many achievements, they’ve toured with the likes of Collective Soul and Cake, were finalists in the 2010 John Lennon Songwriting Competition, performed at the Vancouver Olympics and even
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
have a viral Youtube video, “Travelling,” with almost four million views. Along the way, Paper Lions has seemed to eschew the inevitabilities of the music industry, and have set their own terms for success. They never moved away to the big city and were one of the first bands to try crowd-funding to pay for recording an album. Their most critically acclaimed previous album, Trophies, from 2010, came after a hiatus and major changes in the band – including a new manager and a new name. With a new perspective, the album was the most cohesive, polished and electric sound they had produced, with catchy riffs and strong vocals. After getting screwed over by their record label and not receiving any money for album sales of Trophies, the band decided to release the album to the public themselves. On February 23, 2012, they posted on their website, “We have yet to see a paycheque for a single record sold by them. If you bought our record on Amazon or iTunes or even at a record store, we didn’t get that money. We don’t know why. We don’t know if it’s being held somewhere, or if it’s been spent.” In response, the band released the album for free online. In the end they were compensated, but the fiasco helped the band make the decision to launch their own
record label: Fountain Pop Records. After Trophies, Paper Lions launched a crowdfunding campaign with a $10,000 goal for recording a new album. As a perk for sponsors, they planned to record three songs for a special crowd-funding-only EP. Inspiration struck and three songs turned into six. It was recorded in two days in the basement of a church in Long Creek, P.E.I. with a banjo, mandolin and pump organs, and all kinds of vintage guitars from the 1930s. The EP’s sound is decidedly more stripped-down and acoustic than previous Paper Lions work, favouring vocal harmonies over production value and ear candy. The soothing sound won over a whole new crowd of Paper Lions fans. “The charm of At Long Creek was that it was done in such a short amount of time – two days to record, two days to mix, and two days to release to the world,” says John. With the money from crowd-funding, the support of FACTOR and money from band members’ pockets, Paper Lions was able to record the album. They chose renowned producer/engineer Howard Rodekopp, who has worked with Tegan and Sara, Mother Mother and The New Pornographers, and recorded with him in British Columbia.
John says My Friends is sonically closer to Trophies than At Long Creek. It was recorded using vintage gear, instruments and analog to achieve a warmer sounding record. “I think we really pushed ourselves both musically and lyrically. It’s a career high for me.” Now Paper Lions are bringing the music on the road with a North American fall tour for My Friends. John says the countless hours spent on tour busses haven’t always been easy, but they’ve learned the importance of giving each other space and solitude. He also says that he and his brother Rob can now peacefully co-exist. “We used to have disastrous fights in public settings that were really embarrassing,” he says. “I remember one time having dinner with friends. Rob and I both stormed out, and I remember vividly having to refrain from throwing punches... and I am not a violent guy. But no one can get under my skin like my brother Rob. “But somewhere along the line we had an epiphany and decided to stop. All bands have disagreements. What separates us is that we have been able to weather the difficulties.”
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
My Friends Track by Track with Colin Buchanan
thesis statement of the album in the chorus. “I know you are my friend/and if I never met you/I’d be different.” “The people from our childhood, even if we’re not friends with them anymore… [they] shaped us in a way that we can’t personally explain.” Little Liar Every August, John and Rob would go on vacation to a farmhouse in Hartsville, P.E.I. “I’d be so bored the whole time they were gone.” The brothers progressively would spend more and more time there, living on their own for the first time when they were in high school. “It’s about the house falling down over the years, acting as a metaphor for their childhood ending. Basically it’s to the point where it’s unlivable right now.”
Bodies In The Winter There is a shed called The Vault beside the graveyard of the church in Belfast where the MacPhees’ father, Roger, has been the pastor for over 25 years. The boys would play kick-the-can, tag, hide and seek and other games here. “We’d always run by extra quick because apparently that’s where they kept the dead bodies in the wintertime because the ground was too frozen to bury the dead people.” While writing the song, its truth was heavily disputed, but a phone call to Roger settled the debate. “We thought we were just kids exaggerating things, but as it turns out, they did actually for a small amount of time.” Pull Me In “We don’t really do a whole lot of love songs.” The lone romantic track is “about the starting of a relationship and the awkwardness that’s involved sometimes.” Sonically, the song is built around a pre-chorus. The band wanted a come-down chorus where everything drops, which they accomplish - the guitar, bass and drums settle to start the chorus before picking up again. Sandcastles Growing up on P.E.I., an island surrounded by beaches, it’s no surprise the boys spent a lot of time at beaches during the summer, playing and building sandcastles. “We’d spend all day building these things, then after four hours at the beach you just leave and don’t give a shit about them.” The experience from childhood is contrasted with present experiences. “We were intrigued by the idea that people get so hung up on their own creativity now a days. Everything is like their baby and everything is so precious to them. When you’re a kid, it’s on to the next adventure, sort of thing.” My Friend The song was originally written at a college in Sudbury, ON when they were opening for Lights. They met a random DJ with a crazy rider - all kinds of booze - and were invited to help themselves. There was also a piano in the room where John came up with the riff for the song. “It was Rob, John and I sitting on the bench playing chords while drinking with this unknown DJ at a Lights concert.” The song also contains the
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
Ghostwriters The title for the track is often mistaken to be Ghost Riders, or a reference to the 2010 film starring Pierce Brosnan, but it is neither. “It’s a song about the three women in your life who have shaped you.Your mother, the first person you have sex with and the person you ultimately end up being with, or marrying.” So Lonely The surf rock-fused track is a personal favourite of Buchanan. “It’s really fun to play it live. It’s fun to have one of those songs in the set that is out of left field and takes you off guard.” It’s no fluke the curveball of the album comes where it does. “The sequencing, I’m kind of obsessed with.” The song is “about getting together after school and making up games. Inevitably someone is going to get really upset and leave.” San Simeon San Simeon is another name for Hearst Castle, a property in California built for newspaper mogul William Rudolph Hearst. Hearst’s story inspired Citizen Kane, a movie Buchanan was obsessed with for a while. The song is about building forts with the idea of building their own paradise. Philadelphia The song is about the only big vacation the MacPhee family went on when the brothers were kids. “The MacPhees have this funny thing where they’re not sentimental in a way. Even a year later they were like ‘yeah we didn’t do anything. It kind of sucked.” They said all they did was sit around while their parents caught up with old relatives.” Even though Buchanan wasn’t on the trip, he tells the story with authority. “It’s so quintessential MacPhee to me since I’ve known the guys my entire life.” My Friends Are Leaving The haunting album closer draws on an emotional event triggered around the age of 12 or 13. “There’s a certain point when you’re a certain age and you’re sad and don’t know why.You’re experiencing melancholy and nostalgia at the same time but you can’t really process it. That was an idea we talked about a bunch .” See the top of the tower for yourself, and listen to a Mixtape-exclusive recording of Polly Hill at mixtapemagazine.ca
Beyond Compare Caribou’s Brad Weber Takes the spotlight with Pick a Piper by Samantha Chown . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Words ................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Photo by Eric Matheson
A couple of years ago Brad Weber, the drummer of award-winning band Caribou, decided he needed to be writing more songs. After enlisting friend Dan Roberts, someone he’s known since the 9th grade, and Angus Fraser, as well as many other part-time collaborators, Pick A Piper was born. Based out of Toronto, Pick a Piper was signed to Vancouver’s Mint Records in 2011 after Weber reached out for help with grant writing. The label, which is responsible for releases from The New Pornographers and Neko Case, has experienced a revival thanks to new acts like Piper. Coming from a successful band isn’t always easy. “It helps and hinders,” says Weber. Without Caribou’s past success, Weber acknowledges that Piper would never have been realized, thanks in part to the connections he has now. Coming from an established band means he could reach out to friends like Born Ruffians’s Andy Lloyd and thenacquaintance, Braid’s Raphaelle Standell-Preston, to collaborate on vocals for various tracks. But it also means Piper’s early days will bear the weight of comparison to the 2008 Polaris Music Prize-winning Caribou, who toured with Radiohead around the world last year. “You’re forever going to be 44
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
compared (to Caribou),” says Weber, “it’s not ideal.” It’s a fate Piper can’t ignore since the two groups make similar music and and they inspire each other, says Weber. The only way to forge their own identities is to continue to do their own thing and always, always be sincere and authentic, says Weber. There’s no formula, says bandmate Roberts, the band has to take it as it comes and always do their best. “Brad is so ambitious, it’s crazy,” said Shena Yoshida of Mint to AUX Magazine earlier this year. No surprise when Weber is not only the brainchild behind Pick A Piper but also produces and records their music. Plus, he still finds time to drum for Caribou and Loopsy Dazy, an acoustic electronic band also based out of Toronto. Piper’s self-titled debut album came out this year and the band has moved on from their earlier acoustic palette towards a sound that includes electronic percussion and found-sound samples. “A sound poised between the organic and the synthetic,” as the band likes to put it. All three members of the electronic pop band play drums during their live shows, though Roberts claims to be the least capable. And according to Roberts it takes “a lot less practice than you think,” to synchronize their live
performances. On a sweltering summer afternoon in July, I sat down with Weber and Roberts, finding shade under the scarce groupings of trees at Evolve Festival in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. This was right before Weber’s jam-packed day was about to start, where he was scheduled to drum for Loopsy Dazy, followed by a solo DJ set on another stage and then finish it off playing a set with Pick A Piper just as the sun went down. Weber didn’t seem fazed, hurried or stressed in the slightest. Instead, he said it’s the music that wakes him up and gives him energy to keep at it. Just what you’d expect to hear from someone who can simultaneously juggle three different bands and not crumble, utterly exhausted. Pick A Piper grew from Weber’s desire to have a more creative outlet. As the drummer in Caribou’s live band, Weber says, he didn’t have the chance to write songs. Caribou is musician Daniel Victor Snaith’s solo project to which Weber contributed, he says. Weber started his little side project in order to, “create a live show that has everything and (make) it work,” he says. ‘Everything’ meaning the live shows incorporate tons of flashing lights and a whole lot of percussion, leading to a
bunch of dancing. But how can someone manage to contribute to two or three different projects at once? It’s about priority for Weber. His baby, Pick A Piper, is the project that gets the most of Weber’s attention. Becoming the drummer for Loopsy Dazy happened by accident when the band asked him to fill in for a show following the former drummer’s departure. That was a year ago and Weber is still the resident drummer. Since Loopsy Dazy doesn’t involve much or any songwriting on his part, it fits nicely into his schedule, especially since the band has spent part of the summer months opening for Pick A Piper. Piper is already popping up on music blogs and getting recognition as a band you should know, all in its own right. But musicians know it can be hard to escape the constant comparison between their successful band and a new endeavour. In Weber’s eyes, Piper isn’t just a one-off project; fans can expect to see more from the band in the future. To Weber, Pick A Piper, “will never stop being a work in progress,” and when it does, only then will it be time to move on to something new.”
Pretty Together Multi-talented Andrew Scott of Sloan shares his visual art Words by Adria Young . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Art by Andrew Scott
“For the longest time, I would try to keep the two worlds very separate,” says Sloan’s Andrew Scott, “But it was naïve imagining the band as collaborative and the painting as solitary. Only recently I’ve come to terms with the fact that both are coming from the same place in me.” For the last 20 years, Scott has been the drummer and one quarter of Sloan’s songwriting output, releasing more than 10 studio albums across the almost-mythic career of one of Canada’s hardest-working independent bands. From Geffen Records to Murderecords, from Halifax to Toronto, Sloan has kept up with seismic changes in the music industry. For the same 20 years, Scott has been a painter and visual artist, retreating to his garage studio in downtown Toronto. His muse is man’s best friend. When he’s not playing with the band, he’s sawing woods and mixing oil paints, sometimes struggling with the internal pressures that all serious working artists face: “Are these great paintings? Probably not. But who cares.” The creation of art is a fickle business, because it’s not really a business at all. Throughout critical history, from Aristotle to Barthes, artistic production has been considered miraculous moments of genius. But what
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
appears as effortless is actually the result of painstaking, gruelling attention to craft. Nothing worth anything comes easy. “I’ve fulfilled the goal that I knew existed when I was in high school,” says Scott, “I wanted to be an artist, and that is what I am.” Now 46, Scott’s artistic ambitions began as a young child, under the influence of his father, an architect and musician. “I still remember the giddy feeling that would ferment inside me as he drew a picture of a plane or a ship. They were always perfect. I also wanted that skill. I wanted it so bad so I worked hard at it,” he says. But Scott’s father passed away when he was 14, which arrested his interests. “There was a serious gap for me.” Then in the late 1980s, Scott went to art school. At the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Scott explored fine arts like printmaking and sculpture. “Painting really held no attraction for me, it seemed like too ‘obvious’ a choice,” he says. As if by fate, late professor and painter Gerald Ferguson intervened. “I took his Intro to Painting class and immediately fell in love with the process, and I never looked back,” he says, citing Ferguson as his greatest artistic mentor. “I was also heavily into
music during this whole formation,” he says, between a DJ gig at Club Flamingo and jamming in his friend’s bands, learning drums, “The two practices were informing each other before I really even knew it.” By 1991, freshly formed Sloan was contributing to the genesis of Halifax’s “New Seattle” status. Over the next few years, bands like jale, Hardship Post, The Super Friendz, and Eric’s Trip would dominate Canadian music. But early on, Scott the painter and Scott the musician had few intersections, quietly working on a monochrome series for a gallery show on Granville Street. At The Anna Leonowens Gallery, Scott’s exhibit was infused with art history and an emerging style that now distinguishes his work. Canine portraits on canvas were placed around the gallery to replicate and reinvent a 1972 series by German painter Gerhard Richter. “I tried to approximate his style but had to invent my own ‘folk art’ version of it,” he says. “Richter had 48 uniformly sized paintings of various influential figures hung in a horseshoe-shaped room at eye level in a long curved line. At the apex, Franz Kafka looked directly down the barrel, and each image successively fanned and gazed inward
toward the apex until the last two were profiles looking back at Kafka. “I had started playing around with the blue and the dogs and one day realized I had done Kafka, except he was a Great Dane. I mimicked the way the heads would gradually turn to the same effect, ending up with 17 images, which I called ‘48.’ This was the point at which the dogs and the monochrome blue entered my vocabulary.” After the gallery show, Sloan began touring on the success of Smeared. Then, in 1992, Twice Removed was released on DGC Records (an imprint of Geffen). As Sloan’s in-house artist, Scott designed the album liner as a sketch-collage with dog figures. “I tripped over dogs and discovered they can emit as much expression, if not more, as a person. Painted Richteresque, there is something kind of creepy and off-putting about them, which really stayed with me to this day. The appearance on TR was a continuation of that relationship, I guess.” A lifelong dog lover, Scott currently has a German Shepherd-cross rescue named Tommy, who is “outstanding on every level,” he says. “I don’t see dogs as an inspiration so much as a tool and, so far, I haven’t
exhausted their usefulness. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most are from the ‘Working Class.’ They’re just doing their jobs.” Sloan’s success through the 1990s with One Chord to Another and Navy Blues caused a hiatus from art, “not by choice but necessity.” The first member of Sloan to move to Toronto with his wife Fiona Highet, Scott found that studios were unaffordable and time to paint was rare. But when he eventually found space, “the floodgates just opened again. I picked up where I left off. The real balancing act was how to divide my energies between painting and making/playing music and how can I make sense of this duality? That was my problem.” Scott started to move from canvas to wood, recalling NSCAD with Professor Ferguson, who taught him to recreate group of seven artist Tom Thomson’s paintings on mahogany. “When I returned to painting, I went to a lumber yard and bought door skins. Eventually my use of wood just expanded with the ‘Bird’ and ‘Food’ paintings. The grain of
wood is ready-made ground, so using stain to bring it out and interacting that quality with oil colours stemmed from my earliest days of painting. “Lately, I’ve been using wood expressly in my series of 12 and seven-inch records. I have been fortunate to have earned four Gold Records with Sloan. About a year or so ago,
“It deeply affected me along with others he taught,” Scott says, “What was that lesson? How do I process that? I still hear his voice as I work, both the supportive and the caustic. But if you can fight through and resist internal critics and do your work, you’ve got a leg-up. I suppose his suicide was a brutal example of how
The fire is burning hot tonight. I think I stay here inside. Calm my nerves and try to write, And shed my prejudiced pride. They’re seemingly simple tasks to have And yet they fill me with dread. Four legs good and two legs bad Chase each other around in my head. - “The Dogs” (Parallel Play, 2006, A. Scott). I was looking at one, in the depths of a creative vacuum, and felt that the simplicity of the circle might be a good place to start something new. I suppose it harks to my own existential quicksand of making sense of a career as both a visual artist and a musician.” When Scott’s mentor, Ferguson, committed suicide in 2009, his death became a tragic emblem of the artistic struggle.
hard it can be to live the life of an artist. It is really fucking hard sometimes!” If there is a secret, it’s persistence. Scott’s portraits and subjects have varied over the last decade. Birds, bucks, wildlife; political agitation in the “Hardcore” series; and nuclear war-like images in “Alphabet.” Influences range from Richter to Warhol to David Salle, Sigmar Polke, Francis
Picabia, and the Group of Seven, all the way up to his NSCAD peers and music. Influences can be both immediate and vague. “The Masonic Poems,” for instance, came from a book he never read. “I bought it with the intention of giving it to my friend Matt Murphy (The Super Friendz) to use as lyrical fodder, but the poem titles were interesting. The series has nothing to do with Masonic anything until you say it does. Now it’s up to the viewer.” Each of Scott’s representational pieces shares similar qualities of controlled yet haphazard expression. And he returns to the monochrome palette again and again. “I have thought that the blue aspect was a gimmick or crutch, but having spoken with artist friends, they have helped me hang onto it as another tool that identifies the paintings as mine. What began as an economical, experimental accident has grown into a ‘thing’ of my own, even if it’s not the only way I do things.” Like his art, Scott’s music also has a distinct style.
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
PLAY Each member of Sloan writes, records, and produces their own songs. The upcoming 2014 release of Sloan solo records (a la KISS) is a testament to the band’s aural diversity: Scott’s work fits within the alt-rock, mid-grunge rather than classic pop (Jay Ferguson), power-rock (Patrick Pentland), or epic indie rock (Chris Murphy). Like his art, Scott’s songs are subdued and dark. Thus, “The Dogs” on Parallel Play (2008) is a collision between his painting priorities and musical ones. “There’s always a ‘back-door’ association established after the fact.” But it amounts to acknowledging how his two arts originate from the same creative places, with similar practices. “When we make records, I play every instrument for my own songs. So I still get to work alone in a sense, while playing live is collaborative. This alleviates any confusion for me and locks in with the painting. I put songs together in the same method as my paintings: start with a kernel and build on it. It’s still not a perfect relationship and I don’t think it ever will be.” But it displays well. Scott has contributed many Sloan t-shirt and logo designs over the years. Along with Twice Removed, he created the cover for a Sub Pop seven-inch, Never Mind the Molluscs, and more recently, two cover versions for Sloan’s 2011 Polaris Prize-nominated album, The Double Cross. “I used a Robert Rauschenberg-esque way of transferring reversed black and
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
white photocopied images onto blank LP album covers. We made a collection of hand-made, one of a kind, signed and numbered copies. Then, one unanimously approved collage was used as the mass-produced cover image.” He anticipates more of this. “The way the music industry works now, where bands need to offer more and more ‘special or unique’ products to fans, I’m sure the crossover between art and music will become more commonplace for me.” Sloan’s success has been rarefied for indie bands in Canada and it hasn’t come without significant struggles. Art is always a struggle and it permeates every area of Scott’s life. “Everything is an art. Making a home is an art, raising kids is an art,” he says, “The band is a different animal. It is a business with a lot of mouths to feed, and they barely get fed, but we have built something pretty special over 23 years and there is still life in it.” Scott has learned that giving up is not an option for him, an impetus inspired by playing with The Rolling Stones. “If you want to see the view from the summit of Rock and Roll Mountain, it is from their vantage point. When we were chatting with Keith (Richards) and making jokes about our own longevity, he (in his very Keef rasp) said, ‘Just keep doin’ it, maaaan!’ What are you supposed to do when Keith Richards tells you that? You’re going to just keep doing it until your next record is not better than the last. Painting is different because you can
literally continue from your death bed, as Matisse and many others illustrated.” But the intent is the same: work hard, hard work. Much like Sloan’s band history, there is an element of Scott’s style and attitude that is anti-institutional in approach. He goes for “the antithesis of a traditional gallery experience” with an open studio: “Go ahead and feel how cool the paint feels, feel the bumps on the surface, have a drink while you’re at it. And everything is 50% off! For now, my terms are total DIY and why not?” He is not represented by a gallery but he is open to it, with the right deal. He continues to create work that is both fulfilling and aesthetically interesting, even through bouts of depression, through recording and touring with Sloan, and through his own self-critical eyes. “Art goes from being an auto-pilot process to a battle. There’s a chance you might not win,” he says. But other times, it’s creation, and victory. The relationship between Scott’s artistic output and musical practices seems wholly intertwined, and more than anything, it is clear that determination and attitude is everything. And anyway, Scott says, “Who doesn’t love a dog?” Andrew Scott’s art can be viewed and purchased at www.andrewscottwork.com
Gerald Fergusen (1937-2009) Born in Cincinnati, Ferguson began teaching at NSCAD in 1968 as a conceptual visual artist. He founded the Master of Fine Arts program in 1973. In 1995, he won the Canadian Council for the Arts Molson Prize, and retired as Professor Emeritus in 2006. Considered one of modern art’s most important figures, his practice ranged from paintings to frottage, and his pieces are held in private collections and galleries around the world. His contributions to Canadian art are immeasurable. Andrew remembers: “Jerry was a real hard ass and his moods could shift in an instant. He was notorious for reducing students to tears with his criticism. If he left a Diet Coke can on your studio table, you were accepted under his wing. He definitely left cans with me but he could tear a strip off me just as fast. But I trusted him and gathered so much about attitude, approach and ethic. “..1% inspiration - 99% perspiration…” That’s how he taught.”
Story from an artist Shad shares the making of Flying Colours Words by Shad . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Photo by Adam Scotti
A lot of things felt good about the making of this album; there was a lot of genuine inspiration, a spirit of camaraderie, and many moments that felt fated. I spent lots of summer and fall days writing and recording at Dreamhouse Studios, a great little space in essentially a back-alley in downtown Toronto, and a lot of days in-between working through ideas from my apartment in Vancouver. I drank lots of McDonald’s coffee, took breaks to play basketball and also to visit my aunt at Mount Sinai Hospital, and overall, I worked harder than I ever have. I
wanted to push my talent, energy, and courage as much as I could. Fortunately I was frequently visited in the studio by some very positive and committed collaborators and “creative consultants” from my dudes Elijah Walsh, DJ T Lo, and Ian Koiter, to the homies Skratch Bastid and Ian Kamau, and a whole host of others who contributed expertly and pushed me at every turn. I always felt a sense of gratitude for the growing community of talented artists around me and for the opportunity to give so much to a project like this.
From the outset, I wanted to explore success and failure - what they mean generally, what they mean to me in my life, and if it’s possible to carry forward in our stories in a way that’s honest and good. I chose to call the album Flying Colours because I like to believe that ultimately, in spite of how self-critical we can be and in spite of all of our hurts and regrets, the surprising truth is that we’re all doing so incredibly well in this life. I wanted to convey something of the spirit of that idea; the feeling you get when someone you love tells you that they’re proud of you.
After about two years of writing and recording, I finished Flying Colours. It was a long haul but I feel like I did what I set out to do, which was to give this album my strongest effort yet. When you’re a working artist but far from a superstar like me, every album could be your last. That’s always a little scary, but regardless of the outcome I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to work at something that matters to me. And after a couple of years of thinking and writing about success and failure, I’ve come to think that trying is worth it even if you fail.
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Life on the Road Tour tweets from Mother Mother . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Words by Jen Ochej Vancouver’s Mother Mother seems set to take over the world. Originally an acoustic folk trio that quickly transformed into the alt-pop/rock five piece that we know and love today, their killer stage presence and incredible musicianship make them accessible and attractive to the ndie and mainstream crowds alike. Watch an audience of thousands go
June 16, 2013: VANCOUVER!!!!!!!! Last night was whimsical, magical, beautiful, and just downright AMAZING. We LOVE you, our sweet Vancity friends...XO July 1, 2013: FIVE cancelled flights, lost gear & a police escort later; @ mothermother are finally here in #ymm (retweet from Mike Jones @nuttyskadork) July 8, 2013: How do u put this magic into words @ottawabluesfest #stickstour @ RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfest
July 24, 2013: Who needs running water? We gots @jeremypage_ on the well!
insane over their Nirvana cover and their originals and you’ll see what I mean. This summer they toured all over this massive continent of ours, including stops at Ottawa Bluesfest, Edgefest, and SONiC BOOM—among many, many others. Check out some of our fav tweets of theirs from the road.
July 27, 2013: <3 !
July 25, 2013: I had the best time ever at the @commodorevcr tonight! @ hothband are incredible and I’m a lucky girl. Thank you, you sexy beasts. #Vancouver July 27, 2013: Impulse tat
August 31, 2013: “@awolnation:Very excited to hang with our friends in @ Weezer @capitalcities and @ mothermother today!” Right back atcha! Sept. 1, 2013: Intervention today.You need to hear it from us. “@simplysimple_: 35th @mothermother show today. Intervention tomorrow.” Sept. 1, 2013: Once again our delicate gear
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
comes out with the regular bags. I guess we need clearer fragile labeling...
Sept. 1, 2013: We have a new lead singer and she RAWKS! #bandphoto #sonicboom
The Flip Side Hey festivals, you forgot about women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Words by Jonathan Briggins Imagine if every time you read about a band entirely made up of men, it was referred to as a “boy band.” Or every band with a male lead singer was referred to as a “male-fronted” band. Music writers and listeners have a habit of classifying bands with women members in a genre of their own, which is silly at best but mostly harmful. A gender isn’t a genre. However, it was was downright offensive that not a single female band played either The New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee in Nova Scotia (August 2-4) or Fredrock in New Brunswick (August 9-11) this summer. Both festivals were three days long. Both festivals’ programming was made entirely of dudes. While this may not have been a conscious decision by either festival to exclude
women, it certainly looks suspicious. It’s discouraging for women in the music industry. It puts them at a disadvantage because of something that shouldn’t matter in music. Gender exclusion in music is why events such as the Rebel Girl Rock Camp in Halifax and Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls are important events. Both give confidence and practical musical skills to women and girls who identify as female, trans or are gender non-conforming. These grassroots movements are empowering for women in an industry that treats women as if they’re lesser than men. This summer, Toronto band Ohbijou announced an indefinite hiatus. One reason stated in the band’s goodbye letter was “Our cultural and gendered make-up has become intrinsically important to how
some media makes sense of us. This is tiring.” The treatment of women in the music industry is causing some musicians to consider leaving music. In the case of Ohbijou, that’s exactly what happened. Montreal electronic artist Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, wrote a post on Tumblr in April titled “I don’t want to have to compromise my morals in order to make a living.” Boucher lists problems she has had in the music industry because she is a woman. “I’m tired of men who aren’t professional or even accomplished musicians continually offering to ‘help me out’ (without being asked), as if I did this by accident and I’m gonna flounder without them. Or as if the fact that I’m a woman makes me incapable of using technology. I have never seen this kind of thing happen
to any of my male peers,” she writes. Here is one way for festivals to move forward: create a mission statement containing core values. The Canadian music blog Weird Canada does this on the “About” section of its website. If music festivals stated that a core belief was equal opportunities regardless of race, gender and other factors, everyone would benefit. Making such priorities public sets the tone and can hold festivals and businesses to account. The festivals would have more balanced lineups. Artists wouldn’t have to worry about perceived barriers. And most importantly, the consumers of music get a better product.
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Insta-replay Our concert photography through a mobile lens by Mixtape staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Photographty .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
Who Hey Rosetta! Where Old Confidence Lodge, Riverport, NS
Who Jenn Grant with Rose Cousins Where The Marquee, Halifax
Who English Words Where Hunterâ€™s, Charlottetown
Who Hey Ocean! Where Ottawa Folk Fest
Who Bahamas Where Calgary Folk Fest
Who Construction & Deconstruction Where The Khyber, Halifax
Who Wildlife Where Big Red Festival, PEI
Who Raleigh Where Sled Island, Calgary
Who Tegan and Sara Where Ottawa Bluesfest
Who Michael Feuerstack Where Trailside Cafe, PEI
Who Paper Lions Where Alderney Landing, Halifax
Who The Backhomes Where The Khyber, Halifax
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
Out For Treats Billie Dre and the Poor Boys Words by Evelyn Hornbeck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Photo by Nicole Feriancek
“You picked the ultimate drunk food.” William Dray’s eyes light up as our conversation turns to the task at hand. We’re standing in his kitchen and his Billie Dre and the Poor Boys bandmate, Dylan Ryan (drums), has just picked up the phone to order garlic fingers - the east coast late-night staple. Billie Dre and the Poor Boys have found a sweet spot in the Halifax music scene, known for their garage rock, upbeat, good time, dance-your-faceoff shows. After two and a half years as a band and one with their current sound, they are poised to release their first album, accompanied by a tour through the maritimes, Quebec and Ontario. The name of that first album? Garlic fingers. So naturally they are the perfect band to go to for guidance on the greasy food best enjoyed after the bar. It’s 6 p.m. and no one is drunk, but we’re
recreating the garlic fingers routine. “Basically, it’s a pizza,” Ryan explains when he’s off the phone. Bass player Cory Henderson, cuts in: “But it’s not a pizza!” Built on a round pizza dough, it’s a thick layer of cheese over garlicky butter. “The thing that makes them,” says Ryan, “is it’s cut into fingers and it has to be dipped in donair sauce.” For the uninitiated, donair sauce is a sweet, white mess that’s also spread on wrap sandwiches. “It sounds awful, but it’s amazing.” The Poor Boys are garlic finger fiends. So much so that they’ve named their first full-length release after them. What started out as a joke (“You don’t want to say that you’re working on an album so we’d say we’re working on garlic fingers,” said Henderson) ended up sticking. They insist it represents their band well. A
bit greasy, a bit crunchy (they don’t elaborate), and “definitely cheesy,” both are also enjoyed while drinking. With playful song titles like “Wino Rhino” and “Weed Lean” and bouncy, uptempo riffs, Billie Dre and the Poor Boys are as crave-able as cheese and garlic. In the past year, they ditched their slower set-list and hit their stride. Henderson says they’ve really gelled creatively, and they’re pleased with their new album. “It’s the first time we’ve put out a release that actually sounds like we are at that time,” says Ryan. After ordering, the garlic fingers routine moves on to waiting. We stand around the apartment that Ryan and Dray share with a roommate and swap tales and internet tidbits to pass the time. Somehow we range over topics diverse as spirit bears (a blonde black bear),
current events and the new Star Wars movies.You could almost believe we had spent the night drinking. “They get the first Wookie Jedi. Lowbacca. They call him Louie,” says Henderson, who throughout our conversation reveals an encyclopedic knowledge of, well, everything on the internet. “I’m geeking out. I’m a geek.” The food itself is met with aahs and approval. Golden brown cheese, crispy crust, and a sea of grease greet us under the lid. The food disappears in under 15 minutes. “You guys,” Henderson exclaims suddenly, “Do you still want those space coyote tattoos?” Everyone agrees, and explain this is a Simpson joke turned band pact that first popped up, of course, after drinks, while eating garlic fingers.
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
Mix Tips Writing a rider with Hollerado Words by Jonathan Briggins . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Photo by Scott Blackburn
Giant supplies of M&Ms with the brown ones picked out, food wrapped in clear plastic wrap and two boxes of cornstarch: all are examples of bizarre requests bands have put on their riders. In short, a rider is a list of requests and requirements from artists for each show they play and which the promoter should fulfill. This can include technical as well as hospitality requests. Before heading out on tour with Billy Talent this spring, Hollerado posted their rider on Facebook along with a contest
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
asking fans to come up with ideas to add to the list for a chance to win tickets to a show. Items on the rider included “nacho chips- organic, no tomtits please”, “hummus - we love trying homemade hummus too - yummy!”, “12 beers, light & crappy like Budweiser cans or Coronas”, “12 beers (local and delicious, we love I.P.A’s)” and “a used book that is awesome”. While a rider may seem like a wish list of treats and indulgences, the items can be important for the bands. “You want to put on some
healthy things because usually when you’re on the road all day, all you have is time for fast food,” says Versteeg of why fruit, vegetables and other healthy options are on their list. The always touring, road warrior band have advice for other bands writing riders for the first time. “You have to realize where you’re at.You can write anything you want on there, but you’re probably not going to get it. When we first started touring, our rider was like ‘any food or drink we’d be happy to take.’ When you’re starting
out you usually only get a bag of chips or a piece of pizza and some water.” Perhaps the most entertaining request Hollerado was to walk the dog of a promoter or sound person along with the promise to clean up after it. Hollerado lead singer and guitarist Menno Versteeg says “the reason we put the dog on there is because we’re all huge dog lovers. It’s hard to have a dog if you’re playing in a band. It’s not really fair to the dog.” And yes, they did get to walk dogs while on the tour.
Dine with an Artist Jay Arner takes a break from road food to catch up with Mixtape . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Words . . ................................................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. & Photo by Jonathan Briggins
Travelling from coast to coast has led to some peculiar food choices for Jay Arner and his Vancouver band. “We were making some really experimental sandwiches but we’ve sort of flattened out a bit now. The thrill, or joy, has peaked.” By experimental, we’re talking the frequent combination of mustard and peanut butter. Sometimes spinach, avocado and Doritos were involved. Jay Arner, along with bandmate and girlfriend Jessica Delisle, takes a break for lunch with me at the Foggy Goggle in Halifax in August, right around the corner from the Khyber where they are set to play with Monomyth later that
night. “This is the most food we’ll have eaten in a month,” Delisle says while eating mussels. This is the band’s first time visiting the Maritimes, so naturally they order mussels as an appetizer. Delisle follows with lobster mac n’ cheese while Arner single-handedly devours a pizza. “He eats so much compared to a normal person, yet he is a slender man,” says Delisle of the tall and skinny Arner. Slender Men is what Delisle calls a band actually named Gal Grasen as it is comprised of Arner, Adrian Teacher of Apollo Ghosts and Patrick Geraghty, three tall and skinny guys. While Arner tours with a full band, his debut album
was entirely recorded solo in his practice space with his home recording equipment. It’s strange to refer to an album as a debut when they’ve been recording and releasing music since high school. Arner would spend summers goofing around, making music and recording other bands with a 4-track cassette recorder. “We made a lot of music. Most of it was unlistenable. I had a band with my friend and we could never find anyone else to join the band so we had to learn to play everything ourselves. That’s how I got into the one-man-band thing.” Arner is deeply entrenched in the Vancouver music scene. He’s associated with Bleating Hearts, Apollo Ghosts, Gal
Grasen, Mount Eerie and No Gold either by playing with the bands, producing them or both. All the experience playing and in the studio have led to an impressive and polished debut album from Arner. As the meal comes to an end, Arner’s experimental side shows once again as he dips his pizza into the leftover sauce from the mussels. After almost giving up on finishing the filling mac n’ cheese, Delisle gets a second wind and finishes her lobster mac n’ cheese. The idea of taking a nap instead of playing the show later that night is jokingly floated around, but, of course, the show goes on.
FALL 2013 MIXTAPE
On the Spot Our favourite artists, their favourite albums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Words & Photos by Jen Ochej
â€œThe Beatles will always make me think of my older brother Mark. He gave me my very first Beatles album and, to be honest, he probably influenced most of my early musical education. From The Beatles to Neil Young, he gave me a copy of a copy on some old cassette tape, and I took it all in, and later spit it all out in my own writing. I would say more than anything now I hear McCartney and Lennon in what I do.â€? Who Royal Wood Favourite Album The Beatles, Abbey Road Release date 1979 (Apple)
MIXTAPE FALL 2013
The first issue of Mixtape Magazine features P.E.I.'s Paper Lions on a romp through their hometown as they reflect on their past, present an...
Published on Oct 4, 2013
The first issue of Mixtape Magazine features P.E.I.'s Paper Lions on a romp through their hometown as they reflect on their past, present an...